Another way the heroes differ from each other is their ability to find secret areas. The ranger can find tracks on the ground which may lead to a ranger cache. The loremaster can find arcane runes on walls and reveal secret passageways. She’s also the only one who can collect herbs and craft them into potions. The champion can find fissures in rocks, which only he can break through, behind which lie hidden caves.
While the characters are strong and sustainable on their own, working together is certainly the most rewarding. If a loremaster notices her team getting pelted with arrows, she can summon her sanctuary bubble shield and deflect those arrows (and also heal everyone who remains inside of it). If a champion notices his squishy friends getting pounded into the ground, he can taunt them. There are even “co-op strike” combos where multiple party members execute a strong attack on the same vulnerable enemy. When a party member is incapacitated, other players will have a short amount of time to revive him or her. If not revived soon enough, however, the player will bleed out and you’ll have to restart from the last checkpoint. A nice exception to this rule is that AI companions cannot bleed out, so when they inevitably do something dumb and get themselves downed in a boss fight, you won’t have to break your back trying to revive them before they die. If you so desire, you can leave them incapacitated for the rest of the fight (though this isn’t really advisable).
Overall, the combat and progression in the game are suitably challenging without being too frustrating. There was a bit of a learning curve for me when I first started playing (culminating in tough boss fight) as I learned the ropes of controlling offensive and defensive play. This was likely due to the bizarre lack of a proper tutorial. After getting in tune with the gameplay, however, things went much smoother. I’ve heard some complaints about how “all the enemies are the same” in War in the North, but I personally didn’t have a problem with this. Yes, there’s lots of goblins, orcs, and Uruk-hai (note that there’s also undead, spiders, and a few other species in some areas as well), but for Pete’s sake, this is Lord of the Rings. Those are enemies to the free-folk of Middle Earth! Do people really expect Snowblind to throw in a dancing Panda enemy and totally break canon? Within these enemy races there are a whole host of different classes, such as Uruk-hai archers, dual-wielders, and two-handed weapon brutes or goblin sappers and grunts.